Women’s empowerment in the energy sector: manual with concepts, ideas, projects and initiatives for decentralised, renewable and gender-just solutions

Renewable and decentralized energy solutions hold multiple opportunities and enormous potential for climate protection and social justice. Renewables go hand in hand with all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and can have a massive impact on sustainable development if used in a socially just way. Globally, gender inequality is one of the key issues to combat in the 21st century. The fifth global goal of the SDGs states that gender inequality is not only a human rights issue but a waste of the world’s human potential. In this regard, there is growing recognition of the importance of renewable energy as a catalyst for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Renewable energies can empower women by enhancing substantive and procedural rights. In gender-just energy projects and programs, women are not merely seen as rights holders but also as critical partners, development actors, experts, investors, and producers and consumers of energy. This allows them to use their variety of skills benefitting their families, communities, and countries socially, ecologically as well as economically.

Decentralized renewable energies can play a significant role in this struggle and strengthen women’s self-esteem by enabling them to become active agents and decision-makers in the energy sector. This can be achieved, for example, through energy communities since they are able to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality on the community level using their network to raise awareness. Energy communities also use their democratic structures and procedures to involve all members of society, which in turn can be expanded to the national level.

This manual provides information, concepts, and examples of women’s empowerment and can act as a guide for local partners, rural women’s organisations, NGOs, authorities, decision makers and beyond. It focuses on informing and empowering women about the use of renewable energy technologies decentralized renewable energy approaches, their advantages and potential. Moreover, it provides tools for women to become more familiar in dealing with renewable energy as consumers, producers, traders, or household members.